FDA re-evaluating definition of ‘healthy’ food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is re-evaluating what it considers “healthy” food.

Current regulations require that a food product be low in fat for it to be labelled “healthy,” so foods high in “healthy fats” such as nuts could not be labeled as such. They also have specifications about saturated fat, sodium, cholesterol and nutrients.

However, now considering evolving nutrition research, the FDA is planning to solicit public and expert feedback to develop a new definition for its labeling requirements. The announcement came after the FDA issued a warning letter KIND LLC claiming it couldn’t make nutritional content claims on its labels.

Study finds genetically modified crops safe

Genetically engineered (GE) crops are generally safe for human consumption and the environment, a new study found.

The report from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine found “no substantiated evidence of a difference in risks to human health between currently commercialized genetically engineered (GE) crops and conventionally bred crops.” They also did not find “conclusive cause-and-effect evidence of environmental problems from the GE crops.”

The report acknowledged that many are critical of the technology, which was first commercially introduced in the 1990s.

Health concerns raised over process contaminants in foods

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has warned that glycerol-based process contaminants in vegetable oils and foods may pose a health risk to consumers, especially babies and young children. The substances they examined form during food processing, in particular, when refining vegetable oils at high temperatures.

EFSA’s expert panel said that glycidyl fatty acid esters (GE) are a potential health concern for all younger age groups with average exposures, and for consumers with high exposure in all age groups. The panel claimed that formula-fed babies are exposed to up to ten times the acceptable level of GE.

Estimated average and high exposures to 3-monochloropropanediol (3-MCPD) for young age groups including adolescents (up to 18 years of age) also exceed safe levels and are a potential concern for health.

McCain Foods fined for safety failings at UK factory

Frozen food manufacturer McCain Foods has been fined £800,000 ($1.15 million) by the U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) after an accident in which an employee nearly lost an arm.

The 34-year-old man was attempting to check the condition of the head roller on a bypass conveyor in August 2014 when his arm became entangled in the machinery. The arm was almost severed. Emergency workers managed to save it, but the man now has limited movement in his hand.

An investigation by the HSE found that the conveyor did not have the correct guards fitted. A risk assessment of the machine by the company failed to recognize the danger, the agency said.

In a court hearing, McCain Foods (GB) Ltd. pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 11(1) of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Etc. Act 1974.

Food Safety Awards announced

The BRC Food Safety (Americas) Awards Program recognized those who contribute to the development of the BRC Global Standards certification scheme and the wider food safety industry in the Americas markets. Finalists from each category were honored at a ceremony in Tampa, Florida, during the BRC Food Safety Americas conference:

  • BRC Certification Body of the Year – CERT ID LC
  • BRC Auditor of the Year
- Yvonne Anding – NSF International
  • Approved Training Partner of the Year
- Gordon Hayburn – Trophy Foods Inc.
  • BRC Manufacturer of the Year – Trophy Foods Inc.
  • The best use of the BRC Global Standards to drive change (Food Category)
- Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods
  • The best use of the BRC Global Standards to drive change (Food Storage & Distribution) – Sysco Corporation